Even though most of us are tired of hearing about using social media to generate real estate leads, it is difficult to ignore how frequently prospective clients are logging into Facebook on a daily basis. It is highly unlikely that they are logging in to look for a new house or to find a real estate agent, but then again that is not the way we would suggest using Facebook to find new clients. In fact, the most effective way to use Facebook to generate real estate leads is not to come off as if you are looking for leads at all.
Using Facebook to solicit to prospective buyers and sellers is certainly possible, but not very effective. If you put yourself in their shoes, imagine how you would feel if you were logging onto Facebook to update your status, play a game, or see what your friends are up to, and you notice that someone has either attached a message to your wall or tagged you in a listing. You find out that you have been solicited by a real estate agent who you confirmed as a “friend,” only because you noticed that you shared mutual friends. Are you annoyed?
Many agents treat their Facebook friends like they are a list of contacts they purchased from a leads harvester. If they have a new listing, they post it on their wall in the hope that it will entice one of their friends to click for more information, as opposed to doing what they would normally do on Facebook Marketing, like interact with their friends or play games. Others schedule showings as Facebook events, and invite all of their friends to attend, even the ones that live 3 states away, the ones that are teenagers, and even fellow real estate agents from other brokerages. Instead of watching the number of attendees increase, those agents are noticing a gradual decrease in their total number of Facebook friends.
There are two effective ways to generate real estate leads on Facebook without investing too much time or annoying all of your friends: creating groups or fan pages and using it to interact, spread the word, or ask around. The first way, setting up a group or a fan page, is simple and easy to manage. Facebook allows users to create custom groups of friends who may be interacting for a single purpose. For example, you might be a part of a Facebook group that includes all other real estate agents and office staff members from your brokerage. Group administrators can easily communicate with group members by posting pictures, information, and links on the group wall. That way, specific information is being sent to the intended audience and not to all other friends on Facebook.
Your group page might only include individuals that have called or contacted you for information about new listings. In that case, you would let them know that you are adding them to your group page where they can find a history of past listings and will receive future updates on new listings. Since Facebook allows users to conveniently add pictures, albums, links, and videos, having a group page set up for your leads is an easy way to connect, advertise, and inform. If an individual in the group is converted as a new client, it’s just as easy to remove them from the group as it was to add them. Fan pages can be set up similarly and can be used in much of the same way. Choosing between the two may come down to whether or not you want to use your personal Facebook account to connect with clients, or if you want to interact as a business.
The second most effective way to generate real estate leads through Facebook is all about interaction. This method gets to the root of why most visitors use Facebook in the first place. People want to talk (type) with their friends, connect with old friends, and share whatever is on their mind. Sure, there are people that put way too much information on Facebook, but most users utilize it cautiously and discretely. What makes Facebook so attractive to business owners is the possibility that something they say might go “viral.” When one person types or posts something on their Facebook wall, it is seen by their friends. If their friends leave a comment on or “Like” the post, then their friends will see what was written. If the post is interesting enough, the commenting and “liking” becomes visible to more users than the original author could have possibly anticipated.
Real estate agents can scroll down their Facebook wall and see what their friends (and their friends, and friends of those friends, and so on) are talking about. Most individuals looking for a new home will talk about it with their friends. Sure, it’s sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the important thing to remember is that you will probably not change the way you would use Facebook on a regular basis. In other words, you may regularly log in and see what your friends are up to. The next time you log in and read what’s on your wall, you may look more closely for any conversations having to do with moving, finding a new place to live, or maybe even someone who’s having trouble making their mortgage payments.
It also does not hurt to post information on your Facebook wall that has to do with your business, but may not come across as a sales pitch. For example, a status that reads “Just closed a deal downtown and saved my buyer 10 percent,” will attract positive attention from your Facebook friends. Undoubtedly, friends will click the “Like” button and leave comments which will be seen by their list of friends too. That way, the word is being spread virally without the annoyance of a sales pitch or a link to a new listing or showing.